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Jerry’s Seafood
108 E. second Street
Lewes, DE 19958
302-645-6611

{Google Maps | Website}

In my opinion, when going to a coastal beach town where the seafood is supposedly caught fresh daily, one would expect that their meal in most locally owned and run places would be top notch.  Unfortunately for downtown Lewes, DE Jerry’s Seafood falls considerably short.

Seven adults and two children were seated at a table nearest the door to the kitchen.  In all fairness, my wife & I arrived later, but still who puts two small kids near the kitchen door?  I saw lots of empty oyster shells being brought back, so my assumption was that they must be good.  WRONG!  The seven meaty oysters tasted just short of fresh.  Nobody else at the table wanted any part of them.  I struggled to get most of them down, but eventually gave up.

They have Samuel Adams Summer Ale on tap which was a nice way to wash away the taste of the oysters.  I’ll reiterate the fact that my wife & I arrived after the rest of the table and also ordered after the rest of the table, yet for some reason we got our entrees first.  Normally I’d laugh this off, but there my two hungry nephews were waiting patiently for their food too.

I got their famous crab cake sandwich with pasta salad for a measly $16 (sarcasm.)  The pasta salad was decent, but the crab cake was hit and miss.  Some bites tasted great, others tasted like defrosted fake crab.  Confusing, and not enjoyable.  My wife seemed to be enjoying her mixed green salad, while I supplemented my sandwich with some of my nephew’s fried shrimp – which, by the way may not have been shrimp at all.

After our plates were cleared the checks were brought out broken up by couple/family (I guess my in-laws requested this earlier?) with 20% gratuity added to each check.  The service was poor.  The food was sub par.  At best I would have given them a 15% tip.  I do not like being forced into giving any tip at all.  Leaves a bad taste in my mouth – not unlike the oysters.

My wife’s family rents a house in Lewes every summer.  We will return next summer, but you can rest assured we’ll be skipping Jerry’s.

Lewis’ Bar & Grill
92 Central Street
Norwood, MA 02062
(781) 762-8928

{Google Maps | Website}      

Lewis’ Bar & Grill is one of those places that’s been there forever, but if you’re not from the town of Norwood, MA you’ve probably never heard of it.  It wasn’t even on the list of eateries at my hotel (5 minutes from Lewis’), but the girl at the front desk was able to confirm that the placed I had picked to eat dinner was, in fact a “pretty cool place.”  It was an interesting pick, for sure.  Internet stories of it being a real “townie” place left me fearful that my car with its’ New York license plates would be destroyed by angry Red Sox fans (and I’m not even a Yankees fan!) 

Sam Adams Summer Ale - As Local as it Gets!

My reservations subsided, however when I saw Lewis’ standing at the end of a quiet, tree-lined block in what appears to be a sleepy little Massachusetts town.  I walked in past a door leading to a bar area, and sat at another bar in the back restaurant area.  It was a Wednesday night – day after the All Star Game – nothing on TV, nice & quiet.

I ordered a Sam Adams Summer Ale – one of the best summer ales on the market – and perused the menu.  They have typical bar food – and lots of choices.  When in New England I like to try a restaurant’s clam chowder.  NE restaurants pride themselves on their chowder (pronounced CHOW-DAH), and who am I to deny them their satisfaction?  It was a burger kind of night for me, so I figured I’d try the house burger – The Lewis’ Burger for $8.95.  This signature sandwich is a big sucker topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato, ham, & egg salad.  WHAT??  Yep, you read that correctly.  It was the most talked about entree on the “other” Internet review sites, so I figured it might be good.

New England Clam Chowdah!

The chowder came first.  It was thick and creamy, and slightly sweet.  And for those of you who may be wondering, their chowder is the white.  You NEVER get the red north of NYC. 

The burger is pretty big.  The first bite took me to another planet where flavor rules, and low calorie diets are illegal.  The egg salad adds a nice tang and creaminess.  No need for any other condiments.  Halfway through I remembered it had ham on it too.  The taste of the ham seems to get lost amongst the other pieces of the sandwich.  The beef patty though could stand alone.

The Lewis' Burger

I had another beer and chatted with Chris, the bartender for a little while.  Apparently, had I chosen to eat up front  in the original bar (the back restaurant was added much later) the burgers are even better – in his humble opinion, and they’re cooked right in front of you.  I can’t say I was disappointed in my meal, but that could have been fun to watch.

The burger, soup, and two beers cost me around $27 with tip; not a bad price for a fantastic meal in a pleasant setting.  On my way out I peeked into the front bar again.  It’s a cool looking place – and if this was about history and/or interiors I would have stayed longer.  But I had places to be, and I was full, and very satisfied.

 

 

Linger Cafe & Lounge
533 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1913
(347) 689-4813

{Google Maps | Website}

Jessica Pichardo runs from the backyard space of Linger Café & Lounge, her restaurant on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn where she’s chatting up a group of people to say hello to me.  She seems a bit frazzled – the polar opposite of the mood in the restaurant which is more laid back and calm.  But such is life when you run a café in a booming neighborhood; working six long days per week.  But she’s in great spirits, and is genuinely happy with her life since opening the doors of Linger almost one year ago. 

In fact, the actual anniversary is Monday, July 19th.  On Saturday the 17th though they’ll be throwing their one year anniversary bash complete with a live DJ & Break Dancing, art by Chris Mendoza and other local artists partnering up with kids art program for disadvantaged youth, and food & drink specials from 8:00 PM until midnight.  A portion of the evening’s proceeds will even be donated to local arts youth programs.

While this may appear ambitious for a local café, the food and fan base speak for themselves.  Jessica opens the restaurant six days a week starting with breakfast all the way through dinner, and beyond.  Ambition is the name of the game if you want to survive in this fickle market.  She even plays into our community’s obsession with outdoor activities with a film series beginning this month that will be held in the backyard through the summer, and will eventually move indoors.  Films will range from experimental, indie, foreign, horror classics, and cult classics.

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Jessica was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy day to answer some pressing questions I had about the restaurant, the one year anniversary, and the surrounding Boerum Hill neighborhood:

What is the concept behind Linger Café & Lounge?
I wanted a nice cross between very sexy parlor living room and modern with the intention of having people seek us out as a respite from the everyday.  You can come in any time of day and just stay for a little while or stay & LingerWe serve food all day; local wine & beer, and homemade baked goods.  It’s just sort of a neighborhood, cozy spot.

What does the cuisine center around?
It’s a mix, really.  We do anything from a really simple sandwich such as our homemade chicken pesto with local free-range chicken.  On the weekends we do a full brunch with poached eggs over shrimp saffron risotto, or French toast that we soak in cream overnight, and serve it with brown sugar, figs, & apples.  Our menu changes a lot.  We have a core offerings, but we like to play around with the rest of it based on what our customers like & don’t like.  It’s important to keep it interesting.

Are you open for weekday breakfast too?
We actually have found that serving breakfast all day works very well for us.  You’d be surprised how many people come in here ordering the Florentine Wrap or French toast at 5:00 in the afternoon.

And you also feature live music?
One of the major things that we’re looking into is making Linger into sort of a community gathering spot, and centering it around art & music.  Every month or so we rotate the art on our walls to feature local Brooklyn artists, and we also have live music a couple days a week usually during brunch.  We’re starting to also have music in the evenings now that the weather is getting warmer.  And it’s also supporting all Brooklyn talent.

Who is your customer?
We are lucky in that we are getting a really wide range of the market.  We have everyone from freelance professionals that live in the area; regulars who stop in for their morning coffee or people who count on us for their weekend brunch. We also have a lot of young couples with kids coming in.  They enjoy the backyard now that the weather is warmer.

What do you see happening in this part of Brooklyn right now and going forward?
 I see a lot of development – more & more people moving to the area.  It’s such a great central location.  We’re on the cusp of a lot of different neighborhoods (Boerum Hill/Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Downtown Brooklyn/Park Slope) within walking distance.  It’s definitely an up and coming area especially with the Atlantic Yards project happening.  I expect a lot more hustle & bustle over the next few years.  I’m excited about being one of the pioneers in this neighborhood, and one of the things that’s important to me is staying true to that mom & pop, small business sort of mentality regardless of how developed the area may become.

What is your culinary background and inspiration for starting Linger?
As a little girl my grandmother would have me clean shrimp to help her get dinner on the table.  It was a real beautiful bonding experience.  I think food is one of the simplest ways that you can touch people and force them to stop for a second and enjoy something simple.  I’ve always been really comfortable in the kitchen.  I waited tables from the time I was 15 years old, so I’ve always been in the (restaurant) industry.  I always thought that I would open up a restaurant later on in life, but after getting laid off from the Banking industry in 2008 I decided to take the plunge sooner.  I hadn’t been very happy the last few years prior, so this was my chance to really do what I wanted.  It’s been a really satisfying labor of love.

What are some of your customers’ favorite dishes?
The pesto chicken sandwich is easily a favorite.  We use local chicken, homemade pesto, and fresh mozzarella.  Brunch is also big for us – we play around a lot with our poached egg dishes sometimes over a crayfish or shrimp risotto, or sometimes mushrooms cooked down with cream & herbs.  I’m actually making a homemade hash with fried eggs for tomorrow.

Where do you see all of this over the next few years?
We’re approaching our one year anniversary in July, and we’re at the point where we’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t, focusing on tightening up the menu, and getting a positive buzz out there.  I definitely want to be the to-go place for good food and a really relaxed environment.  We’re finding the space being used more & more for private parties which is nice because it supports a sort of familiar, cozy. If I can open up the space for a group of 30 people and really make something memorable for them, I think it’s a nice way ot leave an impression on the community.  More importantly – longer term I really want to see this be a sort of focal point for art & music in the neighborhood.  We’re working a lot with local music – we’re actually starting with The Classical Revolution and their New York City following.  They’re a large group known in San Francisco; classically trained musicians – it’s like a jam session of chamber music.  We were featured in Time Out New Yorka couple of weeks ago – there was a piece on us with The Classical Revolution.  Mostly I want to help people take some time out; smell the roses and enjoy an hour.  It makes all the difference in your quality of life.

Linger Cafe & Lounge is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10AM – 10PM, Friday-Saturday, 10AM – 11PM, and Sunday from 10AM – 6PM.

Primanti Bros.
Various Locations
15 Restaurants in the Pittsburgh area and 4 in Florida

My wife is from the PIttsburgh area, so I’ve spent a considerable amount of time there, and unless her parents decide to relocate to Lewes, DE permanently (please, oh please!) then I see even more trips in the near & distant future.

One of those Pittsburgh institutions that’s hard to ignore, especially these days is Primanti Bros. – a sandwich shop famous for big, meaty sandwiches – sliced meat and cheese stuffed between two slices of sourdough bread along with – get this – cole slaw and fries.  Yep, right in the sandwich!  Odd?  Yes.  Delicious?  Oh, yes!!  And there’s a reason behind this, of course, and I’ve copied it directly from there website:

A Photo From The Original Primanti Bros.

Back in the 1930’s, Joe Primanti opened a cart in the Strip District selling sandwiches to truckers on the go. It was decided that he should expand to a small restaurant on 18th Street. The hours were 3am to 3pm to accomodate truckers and the like. His brothers, Dick and Stanley, joined him along with nephew John DePriter who was the cook.

According to John, “One winter, a fella drove in with a load of potatoes. He brought a few of ’em over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. I fried the potatoes on our grill and they looked pretty good. A few of our customers asked for them, so I put the potatoes on their sandwiches.” And the rest is history. The Primanti Sandwich: a true taste of Pittsburgh.

Joe moved to California in the 40’s for health reasons and the tradition continued on for 30 years with Dick, Stanley and John.

 With the passing of Stanley in the early 70’s and John in 1974, Dick decided to sell the business.  Jim Patrinos bought the business in 1974 and re-opened in 1975 after minor modifications to the existing property. With the business flourishing and the original location expanding to 24 hours, Jim decided to open more locations. The second Primanti Bros. location was in Oakland near the University of Pittsburgh. Business took off with hungry students and doctors in the area, so expansion was on the horizon again, adding Cherry Way (downtown Pittsburgh), South Side, Market Square and, in time, Three Rivers Stadium.

In 1998, Primanti’s started growing into the suburbs of Pittsburgh while expanding the menu. Pizza, wings, salads and more were added to the “Almost Famous” Sandwich menu.

Three Rivers Stadium went out with a bang in 2001, so Primanti’s (ever the sports fans) set up shops in the new venues: Heinz Field and PNC Park.

Chicken Combo Platter

My first Primanti Bros. experience was at the original location.  We got an order of pickles, and chili fries.  There wasn’t much else on the menu besides that, the sandwiches, and beer.  I got the capicola with cheese, their vinegar based cole slaw, and fries.  I’ve since enjoyed a sandwich at PNC Park, and most recently in their Cranberry Township location.

I’ll be honest – the Cranberry location could be any old cookie cutter sports bar.  There’s plenty of sports panaphenalia on the walls, waiters and waitresses who pretend to not care, and greasy, fatty appetizers like the combination of wings, fried mushrooms, chicken tenders, & onion rings.  The food isn’t bad.  Not at all.  And the sandwiches (I had my usual capicola) are just as good as the originals.  What’s missing though is the charm of the old place.  The remnance of a different time when Pittsburgh really was the steel city. 

Capicola w/ Cheese, Slaw, & Fries on Sourdough

My preference will always be to eat at the Strip District location, but if none of that matters to you, then by all means find your closest spot, order up, and enjoy!

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